Ukraine implements measures to address military gambling concerns

Ukraine bans gambling for military personnel to address concerns about morale and financial security.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued a decree banning gambling activities among the country's military personnel amid growing concerns about its impact on morale and national security.

The ban encompasses gambling in both physical establishments and online platforms, particularly during periods of martial law.

Zelenskyy’s decision follows a petition filed by Ukrainian serviceman Pavlo Petrychenko, who raised alarm over soldiers spending their earnings on gambling, taking out loans and even resorting to pawning military equipment to cover gambling debts. Petrychenko's petition quickly gained traction and prompted government action after his tragic death on the front lines on 15 April.

In response to the petition and broader concerns, the Ukrainian cabinet is tasked with implementing restrictions on gambling advertising, with specific attention given to urging tech giants Apple and Alphabet's Google to remove unlicensed gambling applications from their platforms.

The move highlights broader morale issues within the Ukrainian military, which is grappling with challenges such as ammunition shortages and manpower constraints as the conflict with Russia enters its third year. Zelenskyy’s decree aims to address these concerns and maintain focus and discipline among Ukrainian forces.

This development adds to the ongoing debate surrounding the regulation of gambling in Ukraine. Since the sector's legalisation in 2021, the government has issued 40 licences, with President Zelenskyy expressing optimism about its economic potential. 

However, challenges persist, including the proliferation of illegal gambling establishments and recent controversies, such as the suspension of operations for betting operator Parimatch earlier this year.


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